A Trip To Marrakech

A Trip To Marrakech

Hi all! As you may have guessed from my selfie spam on social media, we went to Morroco for a week away. We stayed at the Riu Tikida Palmeraie in Marrakech, a short shuttle bus away from the centre of Marrakech. We went for the all inclusive because we wanted a paid for summer holiday with no fuss or hassle. We only took £50 spending money and managed to get snacks, KFC (yes we are those people on holiday) and souvenirs.

For the first few days we stayed at the hotel, lounging about on the sunbeds and swimming in the indoor swimming pool (which was completely empty for some reason). We binged on food and drink because let’s face it, you have to on all inclusive to get your moneys worth.

On Friday we decided to go into Marrakech centre and took the free shuttle bus from the hotel. I wanted to go to Majorelle Gardens as it looked so beautiful on the photos I’d seen. We could have been dropped off there but we decided to go all the way into the centre so we would know where pick up and drop off is. We walked quite a way as the gardens are a little further out and paid 70 Dirhams each to go inside which is less than £10. I was only interested in the gardens and not the museum so we only paid for that. The gardens were completely stunning and it was lovely to see how peaceful it was away from the bustling city centre. I would definitely recommend a visit.

After strolling through the gardens for around an hour and encountering some wildlife, we walked back into town and headed for KFC. Our legs were hurting from walking and I was way to hot in my leather jacket even though everyone was wearing huge puffy coats.

I really wanted to visit the palaces but we got lost on the map so instead we headed for the souks which was quite an experience. We got lost several times and were bombarded with questions from local sellers and stall holders. I didn’t particularly enjoy the souks but it was good to have ticked it off my list.

For the next few days we had some rain but also some gorgeous days with highs of up to 24c in November. It’s the perfect time to go because our hotel was fairly cheap, there was hardly anyone there and we experienced some lovely weather.

We headed back into the souks on Sunday night to see it in the dark and to buy some items with our leftover money. We bought Oliver’s parents a little tealight holder and I got a fake designer bag because I’m that girl.

Our last few days consisted of going to the local supermarket which came across as a Costco and spending some quality time in the sun drinking. It was sad to come home to reality but at the same time I can’t wait for the next adventure. Down below are some tips for anyone wishing to visit Morroco/Marrakech.

Tips

  • For women, it is best to cover the shoulders and knees to draw less attention to yourself but don’t worry about being too strict, it’s only for mainly going to the religious spots and palaces. I dressed conservatively to avoid attention.
  • If you’re staying in an all inclusive like us you don’t need to bring too much money with you unless you want to eat out a lot.
  • Take a water bottle to be more sustainable but to also keep hydrated as it can get quite humid, especially if you are walking a lot.
  • Ignore people wanting to sell you things, you will say no thank you ten times over if not.
  • People will pretend to shout things such as “you’ve dropped your purse” to get your attention so they can steal from you.
  • I noticed a lot of people were quite nasty and rude and only wanted money so keep your wits about you; don’t let anyone show you directions or carry your bag, you will be hassled until you give them money.
  • Don’t take pictures of monkeys and snake charmers because they will demand money from you.

Don’t forget to have a great time! Have you been to Morroco? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

Boycotting Black Friday

Boycotting Black Friday

If you’re anything like me you’ll love a bargain. Black Friday is the ideal time to get that new dress or make up palatte or console you’ve had your eye on. But when we take a look at the facts, will we really want to be spending our hard earned money on unsustainable items?

So, before we take a look at how unsustainable Black Friday actually is, let’s take a look at how it effects you as a customer and as an employee.

Over a 100 injuries occur on Black Friday and 12 people have actually died since 2006 while shopping. Can you imagine being so desperate for a sale that your life actually depends on it? Not only is this horrific for the customer but imagine what the staff have to go through; late nights, early mornings and dealing with bloody rude customers.

Now that we’ve had a look at the cons for customers and staff, let’s take a look at the unsustainable side. It’s averaged that the UK will spend around £5.6 billion on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Think of the amount of Fast Fashion retailers taking part in this. The amount of clothes that will be bought and thrown to the back of the wardrobe without another thought; or tossed into landfill after one use. Think of how much time has gone into making these clothes from workers who aren’t even paid a minimum wage. As a country we have bought into this mindset of how we need the latest staple piece from Topshop or we need these amazing shoes from Missguided. The amount of clothes bought in the UK alone is astonishing.

However, there are some fashion retailers who are abandoning the tradition of Black Friday such as Monki. On their website they have written a statement about how they will not have any deals and they’ve called it “Black Fri-nay” which is kinda cliche but catchy if you ask me. To me, even though Monki is only rated as “It’s a start” on Good On You, I would much rather buy from a brand such as this than I would Pretty Little Thing, one of the worst fast fashion companies there is.

Did you know more than 83% of Black Friday shoppers say they would buy their items and gifts via mobile? It may be great for people who work or don’t want to be trampled by crowds, but in reality, it’s scary to think that a new pair of boots or a new tee is only a click away. Fast fashion retailers have so much power over their customers. There’s always a sale section, but Black Friday is their day to shine.

But why are we conditioned to want the latest item of clothing or the newest accessory? I read an interesting article recently about the Diderot Effect. “The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things. As a result, we end up buying things that our previous selves never needed to feel happy or fulfilled.” It makes sense that we buy items we don’t need, we just think we need to have them. This, to me, is how fast fashion retailers get us.

So, what can we do to boycott Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year?

For a start, do not give in to the deals you see pop up on your Facebook feed or click on a link to Boohoo deals that your best friend sent you. As hard as it can be if you’re new to the sustainable approach, you have to have some willpower.

Unsubscribe to retailers emails that will undoubtedly be sent to you today and Monday.

I recently noticed I still follow some fast fashion retailers on Facebook and finally got around to unliking the pages so there’s no temptation to look or support them in any way.

You can also create your own blog posts or share your thoughts on your social media channels.

There’s even events going on you can take part in. My sustainable friend Becky is speaking at an event this weekend. You can find the events here.

You can also support small businesses hosting black Friday deals such as etsy businesses or buy on depop or ebay. There’s still ways to get the deals you want, you just have to be more eco conscious!

What are you doing to boycott Black Friday?

Sources:

https://www.finder.com/uk/black-friday-statistics

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/what-buy-what-skip-black-friday-ncna1091706

https://jamesclear.com/diderot-effect

Why I Don’t Vote

Why I Don’t Vote

Before anyone jumps on the blame train, I’d like to make this clear. It’s perfectly fine to vote, it’s fine if you don’t vote and it’s okay if you’re confused and conflicted. This is completely my own opinion and if you don’t share that, then that’s fine too! I’m pretty sure all I’m trying to get across here, is you do you.

Here’s a list of reasons why I decided not to vote.

Confused

It can’t just be me who’s confused and conflicted about parties. On the one hand, I have always been brought up never to vote Tory (I come from Norfolk which has a very heavy Green Party and Labour background) because my whole family are working class and it was always made out that you could never think otherwise. It’s just where you come from. Second of all, I wouldn’t vote Labour because of Jeremy Corbyn. A lot of people I know want to vote for him because of what he’s promised, and that’s fine, I completely understand it’s like picking one of two evils, especially if you’re on the fence like I am.

I have read articles about Jeremy Corbyn and the past he has had. I don’t agree with his views and honestly I think it’s all propaganda, but that comes with every party, right?

Scaremongering

I have seen a lot of people’s articles, tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts stating that we were lied to about the referendum. However, the only party that seems to take the blame are Tories. Doesn’t every party use scaremongering tactics to win people’s votes? All parties lie about what they’re bringing to the table, so for me, I didn’t want to vote for the wrong party.

Pressure

There is so much pressure on everyone to vote now, which I completely understand because this is such an important vote. However, I’m tired of being made to feel guilty whenever I say I don’t want to vote. I won’t argue with you, your points are valid no matter what party you choose to vote for, but I won’t tolerate being pressured into voting and receiving a biased opinion.

Guilt

Basically, whatever you do, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For me, I’m not very political so I don’t want to make an uninformed decision and regret it later. I am not a fan of any of the parties, so to decide based on what I already know would be improper. I don’t want to vote for the wrong one and then end up complaining when the country goes to shit, because, it may be selfish, but I don’t want to regret it.

Do you vote? If you don’t,what are your reasons why? I think we should be giving people the facts, not giving them our own opinions which could sway or pressure them into doing something they aren’t sure or know little about.

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Hey guys. In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Charly Cox’s poetry debut, She Must Be Mad.

She Must Be Mad is a book about revisiting young love and painful times. There are three sections within the book; She Must Be In Love, She Must Be Mad, She Must Be Fat and She Must Be An Adult.

I have to say, I didn’t relate to a lot of the things Cox describes in the book because I’ve never had drunken night out or anything like that.

The mental health part of the book resonated with me and also some of the weight issues. I still struggle with how I look, I always will, but we learn to accept ourselves as we are.

Cox also describes what being an adult is all about and how it’s not what we expect it to be. She has a lovely writing style and makes the reader welcome in her world. She’s not afraid to tell her story in detail and that’s what I love about people.

Cox tries to make you feel less alone in a world that tells you want to be and how to act. She comforts you with her words of wisdom about when she went through her youth. The part at the end about being an adult actually made me want to cry because this year I turn 20 and I’m petrified. I don’t want to face being an adult and I don’t want to let go of my teens. But knowing others feel the same way I do is reassuring.

If you want a heartfelt read about youth, lust, love and mental illness, then this is the book for you. Until next time, love, Vee x

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

Guest Post: Overwhelmed

I asked a fellow blogger if she would kindly help me write a blog post for mental health awareness and I can’t wait for you to see it!

That dreaded overwhelming feeling

Writing this blog post, I have had so many ideas that I have went back and forth between yet I felt like it was best to write about something that I am currently dealing with. I want to use this post to share tips, a story or two and a few of my favourite quotes.

Overwhelm
‘Have a strong emotional effect on’
‘Bury or drown beneath a high mass of something’

Feeling overwhelmed is not something that can be easily described, it’s a tightness in your chest, exhaustion and mood swings. It is something that is so similar to anxiety that it is difficult to see the difference between the two. I label my anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed ‘the two devils’.

As of lately I’ve been trying to mentally work out which I am feeling at each point in the day. Mostly at the minute it is a constant overwhelming feeling that seems to tick my anxiety off. I have recently just began my second year of journalism and I’m putting so much pressure on myself to get a first that I am overwhelming myself with so much extra work load that really isn’t necessary. This in turn then causes me to get that dreaded overwhelming feeling surrounding the workload of uni which then has a knock on effect that flicks my anxiety gauge to high. Once I begin to feel anxious and overwhelmed everything becomes a problem; the workload, grades, the degree itself, my future, failure, just absolutely everything.

That dreaded feeling is a combination of wanting to stay in bed but making yourself physically sick with how worried and anxious you are that you haven’t done anything. That dreaded feeling is best friends with your rocky mental health. That dreaded feeling wants to be in control. That dreaded feeling will get in the way of everything and everyone.

When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.

Now, if you ever feel yourself losing control and that dreaded feeling taking over these are the few times that help me most times!

Set boundaries – In my example I have used university as my example, however, that dreaded feeling can creep up over anything. It is important to set boundaries on what times and how long you are going to spend trying to focus on the particular thing that is causing that dreaded feeling.

Plan – use your time wisely yet don’t be too ambitions or disheartened. Mental health is unpredictable and some days you need to recover after a mentally draining day by recharging your batteries and not worrying about what needs to happen.

Talk – taking is one of the hardest yet most valuable thing when it comes to any form of mental health.

That’s it, just three times to help fight back at that dreaded feeling. You got this! I believe in you!

Links:

Blog

Instagram

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

Guest Post: Surviving Winter

This week’s guest poster is Jo who writes at her own blog, My Anxious Life. All her links will be put down below. Happy reading!

The weather has turned, Autumn is upon is. It gets lighter later, darker earlier, everything is a dreadful shade of worn concrete – and let’s not even mention the rain. Even if you don’t suffer with SAD, there’s no doubting that the Autumn and Winter months can have a negative affect on our mental health.

Personally, this time of year leaves me in a near constant state of exhaustion. I struggle to get out of bed at the best of times but in winter, when it’s still so dark in the mornings, it feels like a crime to leave the warmth and safety of my bed – and once I’m up, I begin the bedtime countdown almost immediately. I strongly believe that I’m some kind of evolutionary throwback with my intense desire to hibernate come winter!

I become sluggish, start comfort eating and claiming that red wine is medicinal. I get grumpy and, because I do like to get out and about, being cooped up indoors means I start to ruminate and overthink (even more than usual). If you’re like me and aren’t careful, these are all things that can lead you right into the hungry jaws of depression.

So I’ve put together some ideas to help you avoid the winter mental health slump and stay sane until spring.

Don’t Let Your House Be a Prison

If you’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors because of bad weather, cancelled activities or general winter malaise, avoid feeling anxious and trapped by making sure your home is a lovely place to be. You could do a bit of spring (winter?!) cleaning but personally, I’d rather stick to the fun stuff. Try experimenting with some seasonal accessories to liven up the place or buying extra blankets and cushions to make your pad super snuggly. If you have children, you could even invest in a teepee so nestling inside on a rainy day can be a fun game instead of a depressing bore.

Take Up a Hobby

Keep your mind active and avoid letting it wander by taking up a hobby – preferably an indoor one! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or complicated, it could be as simple as experimenting with pencil sketching or trying crochet (you can now buy starter kits with everything you need in one box and it’s supposed to be an excellent pursuit to aid mental health).

There are loads of great YouTube channels to help guide you in activities like yoga or meditation – you could even do an online course.

Or, if you’re like my husband and have a garage full of equipment from a variety of abandoned hobbies, try getting back into something you already started. Your other half will thank you for finally getting some use out of that glue gun.

Get Out When You Can!

When the crisp, sunny winter days do make an appearance, get out and enjoy them! Walking in the forest is one of my absolute favourite things to do at any time of year – it’s great for grounding, which can help reduce stress, improve circulation and inspire calm and tranquility. And the fresh air, Vitamin D and feeling of being surrounded by nature works wonders.

They might end up being a washout, but also look out for local outdoor events like apple harvests, scarecrow festivals, guided foraging or star gazing. Sometimes getting out with a group can do you the world of good and help you make it through the particularly dreary days.

winter self care anxiety

Create a Self-care Box

Through the winter months, the chances are there will be fewer social engagements and trips out, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take care of yourself and get into good habits so that your self-care routine continues to stay on point well into the new year. Get a nice box or basket and fill it with everything that makes a special evening for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, and it’s not for anyone else to judge. All that matters is that when you come in from work, soaking wet, after a particularly bad day, your personalised kit is ready to take the edge off. Just make sure you have a Do Not Disturb sign for your door…

Self care

Experiment with Some of Those Wellness Techniques You’ve Been Reading About

You’ve spent most of the year reading blogs and magazine articles about all these things you should be doing to aid your mental health and overall well-being, but you’ve been so busy you’ve barely had a chance to scratch the surface with any of them. Well now’s the time.

Get stuck in with anything that might have caught your fancy. Try creating your own personal affirmations, starting a diary, or practicing meditation. Do some research into any holistic therapies that you’ve found interesting, like essential oils, crystals or CBD. Start a gratitude journal, set personal goals or just explore the benefits of taking a nap.

By using this time to experiment, you’ll figure out exactly what works for you – and what doesn’t – by the time spring starts to bloom.

Get into Reading

I love a Netflix binge as much as the next person, but it’s probably not the best thing for our mental health to just take shelter in a box set until next April. Reading can help reduce stress, improve our memory and inspire relaxation. But perhaps most importantly, it gets us away from the pull of our phones and TV’s and the blue light they emit, which can have a negative effect on our sleep and circadian rhythms.

If you’re not sure you can commit to a novel, you could always try magazines like Happiful, In the Moment or The Happy Newspaper to bring some much-needed sunshine and mindfulness into those dark winter days.

Get Creative in the Kitchen

If you’re anything like me, the onset of Autumn leads to insatiable hunger and major carb loading. But whilst it might be comforting, acting like we’re storing nuts for the winter isn’t good for our mental (or physical) health.

winter food surviving self care anxiety

You might associate all the most colourful and delicious foods with spring and summer, but loads of gorgeous and nutritionally rich fruit and veg come into season September-December. And because of the season, they tend to be nice and hefty..! So whether it’s apples and pears, or beetroot, cabbage, kale and swede, you’ll be able to create a variety of soups, stews and pies that will fill you up and warm the cockles without the junk food comedown afterwards. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or struggle not to burn cereal, the winter months are a perfect time to start experimenting.

What are your top tips to surviving the winter slump?

Jo writes the blog My Anxious Life, where she talks with honesty and humour about her personal experiences with mental ill health, and her journey towards self-development, wellness and happiness.

Her Links:

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What is SAD?

What is SAD?

Trigger warning. This post contains talk of suicide and depression.

SAD is short for Seasonal Affective Disorder. 29% of adults will experience SAD during the Winter months, especially when the clocks go back – 1 in 3 adults now experience and suffer from SAD.

Have you felt that your depression worsens in the colder months? Or that you have no energy whatsoever and no motivation to get up and do anything? This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I asked my Twitter followers whether they experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and I was surprised at the amount of people who responded with yes or offered to collab on a blog post. Therefore I took them up on the offer and I asked them to write a short paragraph on what SAD means to them.

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com

 

@chloemetzger at Chloemetzgear.com (2)

 

Symptoms of SAD

Here are just some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Have you experienced any of these?

  • Low energy
  • Feeling depressed most of the day
  • Losing sleep
  • Feeling sluggish or irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Changes in appetite or weight

Do you have any symptoms that aren’t listed on here?

Did you know there is such a thing as Winter and Summer depression? There are different symptoms for each one. Such as Winter, you may experience oversleeping, weight gain, tiredness or appetite changes. Whereas in the Summer you may find yourself experiencing these symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss and anxiety.

Causes of SAD

If you have sudden onset SAD, you may wonder why this is. Sometimes to relieve anxiety, it can help to know what the cause is. SAD can be brought on from a range of things such as:

  • Your biological clock. Because of how dark it gets in the evenings in Winter, this can mess with your internal body clock, therefore making you have depressive thoughts/episodes.
  • Your serotonin levels. Serotonin is responsible for your feelings such as happiness. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in your serotonin levels which could trigger depression.
  • Melatonin levels. Melatonin plays a vital part in your sleep patterns and mood, therefore a change in season can make these levels unbalanced.

How to Beat SAD

If you experience SAD you won’t be looking forward to Winter. Which is why I have come up with a list of things to help you combat SAD and live your best life (as much as you can). Here are just some of the things you could do to relieve the stress of SAD:

  • As much as we all hate it –  exercise. I go swimming every week which helps release serotonin in the brain which essentially makes us happy. Even a walk in nature will do!
  • Wear warm clothes. It’s proven that being cold can make you feel more depressed, so wrap up warm, drink plenty of hot drinks and cosy up by the fire if you have one.
  • Eating healthy. As much as I love my chocolate it makes me feel depressed after I’ve eaten it. You don’t have to go around eating salads five days a week for lunch, but switch up your meals, do meal prep with your partner or friends and try something new.
  • It’s proven that having a light box or dawn simulator (can be bought on Amazon for under £30) can help improve your mood.
  • Take up a new hobby. It will help distract you from your SAD thoughts (get it? No okay) and help you concentrate.
  • Socializing is a great way of warding off SAD (all my fellow introverts out there, I feel you)
  • Join a support group, or any group for that matter!
  • Make sure to take your Vitamin D.
  • As hard as it is to sleep with SAD, going to bed and switching off your phone at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will help your sleep schedule and make you feel less tired, which in turn will help your mood swings.

I hope this post has helped at least some of you! If you have SAD, what are some ways you combat it?

Sources:

https://getridofthings.com/get-rid-of-seasonal-affective-disorder/ 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/

Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Guest Post: Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

This week’s mental health related post is a guest blog from Sarah over at https://www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

Five Ways to Keep Anxiety in Check When You are Travelling

Travelling is one of the most incredible ways you can spend your time and money, if you get the chance to. So many of the memories that I cherish are of times when I was out in the world, experiencing different cultures and seeing animals I can’t find in the UK: going on safari in Kenya and seeing elephants in the wild; swimming with sea turtles in Mexico; whale watching off the coast of Iceland. There’s also something to be said for food in other countries – my first taste of Dole Whip at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one I will never forget!

I’m a clinical psychologist by trade, working with people with chronic physical health conditions. But I also have experience of my own mental health difficulties. I’ve struggled with anxiety from a young age and, whilst it never goes away, I’m very aware of the situations that make me feel anxious and have some strategies to manage them now as an adult. One of the things that makes me particularly anxious is travelling – even though I love it, the unpredictability of transportation, the language barrier, and the changes to my daily routine are things that can trigger worry and panic in me quite easily. So in this blog post, I wanted to share some of the things that help me to manage my anxiety when I’m away from home. I hope they’ll be useful to you as well.

Have a Plan

This is super useful if you struggle with anxiety in certain situations. Whilst it’s often important to put yourself in situations that make you feel anxious, so that you can get used to feeling anxious and learning that nothing bad happens, that’s probably not an experience you need to put yourself through on holiday! I’m not saying you need a minute-by-minute plan (although feel free to have one if it helps!), but having a rough itinerary for your time away can help you to feel more in control of the process, as well as helping you to budget for your trip and get to see all the things you want to without feeling rushed. If you know that there are particular things that will stress you out more than others, make sure you allow extra time for those things. For example, one of my particular panics is around getting to my hotel from whichever airport I find myself at. So, I make sure that I have a strategy for doing that, and plan in extra time so that if I’m getting a bus or train, it’s not the last one and I can have a contingency plan.

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Travel with Others

This comes with a few caveats! Whilst I love travelling with other people, and don’t think I would want to travel alone, make sure the people you are with understand your difficulties with anxiety. There’s nothing worse than going on holiday and feeling pressured into doing something because your friends/family haven’t realised how anxious it makes you – or worse, don’t care how anxious it makes you because they want to do it anyway. I’m lucky that I have people in my life who care about me and want to make things easier for me (I wouldn’t have been able to navigate New York in the freezing cold without my best friend, or Palma in the sweltering heat without my husband) but, if you don’t have those people, being alone might make it easier for you to manage your days.

  • Take things that remind you of home
    If you have a specific routine at home to manage your anxiety, work out how much of it is portable. Having things that remind you of feeling safe and calm can be really helpful when you’re stressing out in a foreign country. Look particularly for things that stimulate all the senses:
  • Sight – a picture of loved ones, or your pets, or maybe a letter written to yourself from when you were feeling less anxious to remind you of why you love travelling and why you’re doing it.
  • Touch – something soft and calming like a small blanket or scarf, or something that you can use to keep your hands busy, like a stress ball.
  • Taste – taking a small amount of something that you really like, such as a bar of your favourite chocolate, can be really helpful to ground you when you’re panicking. Just make sure that you’re allowed to take it into the country that you’re visiting, otherwise you might end up having other problems than anxiety!
    Smell – take your favourite scent, or something that reminds you of comfort and safety. Tiny bottles of perfume or essential oils like lavender and peppermint can be helpful for this.
  • Hearing – I never go anywhere without my iPod, as listening to music has a really calming effect on me. Make sure you have some of your favourite tunes on hand, to distract you for a little while and allow your body and mind to calm down.

Learn a Few Key Phrases

I’ve always been quite jealous of people who pick languages up naturally when they’re away – sadly, I am not one of them, and communication difficulties are something that are also likely to raise my anxiety quite a bit. When you’re going to a county that you know might be difficult to navigate due to language differences, learning a few phrases can be really helpful to make you feel more in control. As well as allowing you to learn a bit of a different language, people are often much more friendly when they feel that you’re making an effort to communicate with them, and are often really excited to teach you new things.

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Remember to Breathe!

Important but often over-looked, breathing and relaxation practices form the basis of most anxiety-management techniques. When you find one that you like, make sure that you practice every day – it’s a bit like playing the piano in that the more you do it, the better you’re likely to get. Start practicing somewhere quiet and calm, so that it’s not too difficult to notice when you’re starting to feel less anxious. When you’ve started to be able to regulate your breathing in order to calm yourself down, you’ll be able to do it in different situations, such as in a busy supermarket, or on an airplane. You don’t need to practice relaxation for hours at a time either – two or three minutes of diaphragmatic breathing, two or three times a day, is enough to start to feel the benefit after a few weeks.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas to manage your anxiety when travelling. Travel safely, and enjoy!

If you liked this blog, you can read more of my work at www.clinpsychsarah.com/blog

You can also find Sarah over on Twitter at @academiablues

 

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day

Every year, on 10th October, it’s World Mental Heath Day. I believe we should be aware all year round, but to celebrate this day, I and a few guest bloggers will be writing about Mental health throughout the month. They will be sharing with you their advice, stories, tips and much more this month so keep a look out!

What Is World Mental Health Day?

World Mental Health Day is all about bringing awareness to the stigma surrounding mental health and making sure we’re there for our loved ones who suffer with these illnesses every day. It’s also a time for people to speak up about their work and what needs to be done to change the way we see mental health. You can read more about World Mental Health Day here.

What Can I Do To Help?

There are so many things you can do to help beat the mental health stigma and some of these include but are not limited to:

  • Fundraising
  • Talking about mental health openly
  • Researching to understand mental health illnesses better
  • Donate to mental health charities
  • Be there for friends/family who are struggling with their mental health

There are lots of ways to get involved and to have your voice heard!

Look out for my guest posts coming throughout the month…

Book Review: Margot and Me

Book Review: Margot and Me

I read Margot and Me by Juno Dawson earlier in the year and fell in love with Margot and Fliss.

About

Margot and Me is about how Fliss moves up to Wales to be with Fliss’ grandmother while her mum is in remission from cancer. Fliss has to leave all her friends behind, including a potential love interest. She can’t stand the thought of moving away from London to a tiny town in Wales.

But fortunately for Fliss, she finds her grandmother, Margot’s, diary from the time of the war. She unveils secrets she never knew and discovers it’s not that easy to move away from home. But it does have its perks.

From YA prom where I met Juno!

Review

From the start of the book, I didn’t know what it was going to be about at all or who it was aimed at.

I was excited that Fliss and her mum were moving to Wales because I love it there.

The characters were so likeable, especially Margot (not at the start). I loved Fliss’ mum and Fliss’ gay friend Danny who lives at the Chinese his mum and dad run. Her other friend, Bronwyn is also quite sweet, although a tad odd! Dewi was a personal favourite, a big softie. I wish he would have got more time in the book! (Juno, please write a book for Dewi!)

I felt like I could relate to Fliss, apart from her confidence and sassiness. She worries a lot but is also a kind soul. She has her opinion and sticks by it, regardless of what others think. But ultimately, I loved Margot the most. You could see her character develop from the person in the diaries to who she is now, and it’s not surprising she’s so cold hearted when you look at what she’s gone through.

There was so much crammed into this book that I didn’t know which direction it was going to go in.

The writing was beautiful, especially the parts where we’re reading Margot’s diary. It felt so accurate and made the story come alive. It was like reading a story within a story.

I felt like I was actually in Margot’s farm, watching Fliss resist the urge to eat bacon and seeing her sneak into her bedroom to read more of Margot’s diary.

This book is such a heartfelt read but also a heartbreaking one. Be prepared to cry, laugh (a lot, Fliss is such a diva) and smile. If you want a family oriented read full of laughter, ballet, piglets and more, then read this now!